A German auto parts supplier is being investigated for its role in Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal. Bosch provided the disgraced auto maker with engine components and software for its diesel vehicles.
Federal prosecutors in the US are examining whether Bosch, a major engineering and automotive company, colluded with Volkswagen to deceive regulators during diesel emissions tests, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources close to the investigation.
Bosch came under suspicion because it had built the key engine control module, known as EDC17, which regulates how a vehicle cleans spent fuel before releasing it as exhaust, Reuters said.
Volkswagen has admitted to intentionally installing software in around 11 million diesel cars sold around the world that would lower the vehicles' emissions during testing but let them pollute freely while on the road. Some 482,000 of those cars were sold in the US.
Regulators have not yet established whether Bosch was aware of Volkswagen's intentions to modify the engine control software that Bosch had provided.
Reuters referred to an earlier interview with Bosch, in which the company said it provided its clients with engine management systems to their specifications, and that "how these components are calibrated and integrated into complete vehicle systems is the responsibility of each auto maker."
Meanwhile, in another sign that VW's cheating scandal continues to widen, a top environmental official in the US said the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company may have to buy back older models of its diesel cars from customers, as they would be too difficult to upgrade and made to comply with emissions standards.
In an interview with the German business daily Handelsblatt, Mary Nichols, the head of California's Air Resource Board, said while newer VW diesel engines could receive software patches, older models would pose a problem.
"We are quite concerned about that because of our experience with retro fits in general," she told the paper. "I think it is quite likely that they will end up buying back at least some portion of the fleet from the current owners."
cjc/hg (Reuters, dpa, Handelsblatt)